When searching for a new home, a lot of people get caught up in the price and the features they want to see in the house themselves. Then they move into a neighborhood and realize they aren’t near anything useful, hate the school system, and have questionable neighbors. When preparing to move, it’s helpful to do some research on the neighborhoods you’re considering before narrowing down your home choices.
Safety Comes First
Always, always check the safety statistics for a new area. While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll never be the victim of a crime, you can decrease your odds but choosing a neighborhood that doesn’t have high crime rates. If your potential neighborhood is in the news every day, you may want to consider looking elsewhere. You should also check the national directories for registered sex offenders; especially if you have children.
Proximity to Important Destinations
Where do you go on a regular basis? Work? School? A long-term care facility where a loved family member lives? To visit family and close friends? How far away from these things will your new neighborhood put you? Would you mind being further away from work if you could be closer to family?
Other important destinations to consider include shopping malls, grocery stores, banks, gyms, and any other entertainment or shopping venue you consider important. It’s one thing to buy a quiet home in the suburbs and quite another to realize you have to make a full day-trip to do any sort of affordable shopping.
What is the Cost of Living?
This is especially important to consider if you are moving a distance. You are going to find that the cost of living can be different in varying areas of the same state. There are quite a few cost-of-living calculators online. Use them to calculate the cost of moving to several different localities.
Do You Use Public Transportation?
Is public transportation important to you, or necessary? If so, make sure the area you are considering has a reliable system. Do you prefer taking the bus or train to work? Maybe you want to move to a neighborhood that is considered bicycle-friendly. Check out schedules, paths, and anything else important to your day-to-day routine.
Make a list of priorities before you start house hunting. Determine which things you’d like to see in a neighborhood are absolute must-have items and which are simply desires. Make sure you share this list with your real estate agent as well. Try to find an area that is affordable and meets as many of your needs as possible. You may have to compromise a bit, but the time spent will make you much happier in the end.